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Hospital rating system gives prestigious facility a failing grade

The sudden need to seek hospital care for an illness or injury can be nerve-wracking for some folks in Chicago, yet a hospital’s high standards in patient care can help to alleviate any apprehension. Folks might not fully understand the state of their health when they first seek medical treatment, but they trust that hospitals will do their best to figure out what is going on and to help patients get better.

But a recent report from Leapfrog Group suggests that some hospitals — even some of the most renown in the country — are not administering quality care to patients. Leapfrog is a nonprofit group that recently began rating hospitals in Illinois and throughout the entire country. The ratings are based on healthcare quality and patient safety. Last month, the group claimed that Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center received a failing grade for healthcare quality. The hospital is supposed to be one of the best in the country.

In response to the rating, UCLA claims that the group’s scoring system is faulty. But Leapfrog’s president and chief executive said the group’s scoring system was devised by a panel of experts in patient safety and is statistically sound. She said UCLA’s low score reflected numerous poor practices at its medical center.

For example, in 2010 a liver transplant patient at UCLA died from an air embolism, a preventable hospital error. The hospital’s chief medical officer said there hasn’t been a similar hospital mistake since. However, other concerning incidents of medical malpractice were noted in Leapfrog’s report. Incidents included leaving objects in patients’ bodies after surgical procedures and high rates of reported pressure ulcers.

UCLA Medical Center was one of only 25 hospitals in the country to receive such poor marks. However, no hospital should be failing when it comes to patient safety. In order to prevent medical malpractice, which can lead to disabling or fatal injuries, all hospitals must provide the upmost care at all times.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “UCLA Medical Center gets failing grade on patient safety,” Chad Terhune, Nov. 28, 2012


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